By Shirley Vanderbilt
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, December/January 2002.
“Everything is vibrational in nature. When you’re aware of your own inner vibrations, able to witness life around you as a concert of sound, to discover that you are in fact sound, then the division between internal and external becomes non-existent.”
—Dr. John Beaulieu
A shaman once told me, “The key to the door of understanding is listening.” Ancient peoples the world over understood the energy power of sound — the vibration of drum beats, chimes, gongs, chanting and the music of systems and organs constantly humming throughout the body. All of the senses were used to evaluate or “listen to” energy levels and signs of dysfunction in the body. Modern medicine has moved away from this multisensory approach, and we, as a society, have moved away from connection to our inner essence. Many have lost true awareness of the sound vibrations within and around us. We experience dissonance in our lives and don’t know how to resolve it, or may even try to deny it, because we are no longer aware.
BioSonic Repatterning(R) was developed by Dr. John Beaulieu to address this dissonance in our lives and bring about an awareness, enhancement and balance of life energies. Beaulieu is a naturopathic physician and polarity therapy practitioner with a doctorate in counseling and training in classical music. His experience in energy healing and counseling, expertise in martial arts, and success as a musical composer and performer account for the range of modalities used in his work. Thea Keats Beaulieu, his wife and director of BioSonic Enterprises, is a dance and movement therapist, polarity therapy practitioner and successful professional dancer. As a senior teacher in BioSonics, she contributes her talents by teaching the use of dance, color and the five elements for personal expression.
Sound With a Capital “S”
According to Beaulieu, BioSonic means “life sound.” In the field of BioSonics, the fundamental organizing and sustaining factor of our being is sound. Some might refer to this in spiritual terms as “The Divine Intelligence,” “Spirit” or “God” and in therapeutic modalities as craniosacral’s “The Great Tide” and polarity’s “Our Ultrasonic Core.”
Seeing all life as vibrational, Beaulieu focuses on the acoustical phenomena of fundamental sound. “Take any sound and be with it,” he said in an interview from his office in New York. “It’s a fundamental sound. ‘Om’ is a fundamental sound. Pluck a sound on string. First it vibrates as a whole, then divides in half and keeps dividing following a specific sequence to infinity. This is known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ You are actually getting thousands of sounds from one string. Those other sounds are overtones. One sound has many sounds; one string and many sounds.” This, said Beaulieu, is the oneness being expressed in many ways; the concept of unity and diversity, like one stream of water going into a fountain and emerging as many streams.
“Our fundamental sound,” said Beaulieu, “like a vibrating string, divides again and again creating many harmonics. The natural rhythms and structure of our body are harmonics of our fundamental sound. By tuning into and listening to body rhythms (respiratory, craniosacral, cardiac and organ) we can access their source in the way a dancer moves through different musical rhythms to their underlying beat.”
BioSonic Repatterning, as a branch of energy medicine, uses music and sound to enable us to tune into and align our natural rhythms with our life sound. The process includes the use of tuning forks, voice energetics, toning, mantras and chanting, music listening and improvisation, as well as creative art modalities of dance and movement, color and light, crystals and gems, flower essences and dowsing. The principles of this theory can be used to interface with and enhance craniosacral balancing, communication and counseling, dream work, relationships, nutrition and consciousness exploration. “Developing a ‘sonic’ understanding,” said Beaulieu, “of the relationship between our inner self and external events at any possible reference is the goal of BioSonic Repatterning.”
Dissonance and Resonance
“The journey from a harmonic life rhythm to our fundamental sound,” said Beaulieu, “is a process of unwinding through different vibrational states of dissonance and resonance. These states manifest to the practitioner as a series of images, thoughts, emotions, tissue responses and physical sensations. The guiding principle is a felt body sense of body resonance, stillness and dissonance.”
Dissonance is defined by Beaulieu as being without sonic alignment or to beat against. “Our first reactions to dissonances,” he said, “whether in music or life, are to label them undesirable and something to be avoided.” We commonly refer to dissonance as stress, and our individual experiences of what constitutes stress varies greatly. By recognizing and understanding the dissonance in our lives, we embrace the opportunity to move to a higher level of functioning.
This is exemplified by the findings of Dr. Ilya Prigogine, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose theory is termed “order from chaos.” While investigating chemical systems, Prigogine found that living systems experience chaos or disruption (dissonance in sonic terms) as a precursor to developing higher levels of order, or resonance. These systems dissipate increasing amounts of energy over time due to fluctuations, or dissonance, inherent to the system. As dissonance increases in intensity, the system increasingly moves away from equilibrium, creating a wobble which eventually causes a disintegration of the original order. At this point of chaos a new, more highly formed order is created around the vibration of previous experiences and the challenge of the chaos.
“We must learn to listen to and appreciate dissonance in our life,” said Beaulieu. “From a BioSonic perspective, the experiences of dissonance are our inner alarm system. When an alarm goes off, something is going to change whether we think we are going to like it or not.” Resisting this alarm will only increase our experience of dissonance. The role of dissonance is to challenge us to move into a different state of energy. The challenge cannot be met in our current state and requires that we “seek change and seek resolutions from a higher perspective.”
Resonance exists when the energy moving back and forth between two or more bodies creates a merging of vibration. When this movement of energy does not merge into unified pulsation, dissonance exists. This is the condition Beaulieu describes as being without sonic alignment. “Resolution happens when dissonance becomes resonance,” he said. “With each experience of resonance, we move closer to our source. The closer we come to our source, the more we are ‘beings of sound, mind and body.’ Resonance is everywhere and always available to us.”
Beaulieu likens the experience of dissonance to the preparation of a caterpillar for transformation into a butterfly. Dissonance is a natural state preparing us for a new form. “Personalities,” said Beaulieu, “need to understand their problems are just dissonances seeking resonance. They have a special opportunity to learn about a new level of energy and make a quantum leap in awareness.” Dissonance cannot be ignored as it will continue to exist and attract more dissonance. Beaulieu said the persistent presence of dissonance within the body causes dysfunctional vibration in the organs, leading to physical disease.
The primary focus of BioSonic Repatterning is listening with awareness by moving into stillness and accessing the multisensory input of the whole being. By doing so, we gather information that guides us to the BioSonic healing interventions needed in each particular situation. Rather than focusing on the content of communication, BioSonics emphasizes the vibrational environment involved: pitch, tone and speed of voice; body movement; and “the felt sense of pulsation surrounding the communication.”
In therapy, voice energetics provide the healer a means for establishing resonance with the client by focusing on the sonic and rhythmic aspects of inter- and intrapersonal communication. “Voice energetics,” explained Beaulieu, “is the study of our voice; the different ways we can use our voice for healing. By modulating the basic voice parameters (rhythm, tone, volume and pitch) according to the client’s need, the therapist increases resonance with the client. Beaulieu likens this to having a good bedside manner. “Not only are we [the therapists] giving them [the clients] words that mean something, we’re transmitting energy through the voice,” he said. “Using the voice as a musical instrument, communication ultimately takes place at another level. You are that with which you come into resonance. The deeper you can come into resonance with the client, the more you know them and what they need. You have empathy with the client.”
A second important aspect of BioSonic Repatterning involves the recognition of posture as “a sacred geometric readout of harmonic patterns and fundamental sound.” Through awareness of the body as sound, we can tune into the different intervals and effects of tuning forks on body structure. From an energy standpoint, the human being can be viewed as a five-star geometric pattern. When the body structure is in alignment with the five-star pattern, life energy is increased. The head is the top of the star with shoulders and hips representing the other points. “When that star is in ideal proportion,” said Beaulieu, “and all points are aligned, then inwardly that person has access to an immense amount of energy because of the alignment.”
Realignment to the five-star pattern can be reached through a variety of approaches, such as sound or touch. For bodyworkers, this pattern represents the source of energy. The therapist observing a high positioning of the shoulders (two points of the star) works to bring them back into alignment. In sound healing, the vibrational effect of two simultaneous sounds generates a response in the body that realigns the five-point star.
The interval of the notes C and G is what Beaulieu calls the interval of a fifth. While all two-note intervals will generate the star pattern, the C and G interval has the most potential for healing with its ratio of 3:2, the interval ratio. According to Beaulieu, this musical ratio is evident in many cultures, whether beaten on a drum or in rhythm of some other form. It is a basic rhythm. Beaulieu even noticed one of his schizophrenic patients rocking to a 3:2 rhythm. He said when blood pressure is aligned, the ratio is 3:2, or 120/80. And 3:2, or the five-star pattern, brings about physiological, emotional and psychological healing changes in the body.
“Two sounds in relationship create a space for healing,” said Beaulieu. In music, the interval of a fifth is referred to as the Golden Mean. Its healing power lies in the relationship between the two tones. The tones cannot be resolved and thus create a spiral in which a third entity does the healing. Compare this to a five-star pattern. Connecting the inner points creates a pentagon. By connecting the pentagon points you create another star. This process spirals to infinity. Inside of this spiral is pure energy, without form — the stillpoint. Said Beaulieu, “The basis of healing is the resolution of opposites”; a resolution found through accessing that third entity (within the spiral). This is similar to putting someone in the eye of a hurricane. In the five-star pattern, you are in the eye of life — the source of energy and calm.
“Body is mind is body,” said Beaulieu. The way the body is held can change the thought process. When the body is repatterned to new ways of alignment, the mind hears a different thought. The mind is changed by the changed vibration of the body. Beaulieu recommends performing bodywork first, followed by sound. The client relaxes automatically when realigned into the five-star pattern. Sound is then the final tuning, both reinforcing and adding to the energy level. Either sound or bodywork alone can initiate the five-star pattern, but in using both together, the effect is enhanced.
The third area emphasized in BioSonic Repatterning is the exploration of sound and consciousness through the integration of what Beaulieu has termed New Music and Healing. Music, vocal/toning sounds and tuning forks are used to challenge and expand our awareness. Beaulieu points out that every sound has the potential to heal when used appropriately and according to individual needs. What is dissonant to one person can be healing for another, just as a dandelion is a weed to a gardener and a blood cleanser to an herbalist.
New Music and Healing
New Music is not “new age” music, explained Beaulieu. In a process of evolution, Western music has changed at each step of the way, flowing on a continuum of traditional structure. After the turn-of-the-century, New Music emerged in avant-garde compositions such as those created by composer-philosopher John Cage. Abandoning old concepts of harmonics, New Music composers see everything as sound and music, if listened to in the correct way. And all sources of sound are used in the creation, in a very untraditional manner. “If you are available,” said Beaulieu, “you listen to it as a sound. If not, you listen through a belief system and say ‘I don’t like that’.” Being available and listening to it as music, actually as vibration, you enter into the sound, experiencing a musical adventure in the present moment.
The object of New Music is to train people “how to listen,” to get them to loosen up and increase their awareness. It’s much different from our traditional take on music as entertainment or relaxation. For each person, the healing effect will be different. New Music is intended to counteract rigidity and lost creativity. Beaulieu pointed out the importance of the individualized approach. A healing music composer cannot provide healing across the board. What heals one person is not necessarily for everyone.
Beaulieu discovered BioSonic Repatterning while sitting in an anechoic chamber, a completely soundproof room resembling a sensory deprivation chamber. He had read about the experiences of Cage and decided to conduct a similar experiment. “While in the chamber,” said Beaulieu, “Cage heard two sounds — one high-pitched and the other low-pitched. The engineer he was working with informed him that the high sound was his nervous system and the low sound was his blood circulating.” Beaulieu spent 500 hours over a period of two years in the anechoic chamber listening to the sounds of his body. “I began to correlate different states of consciousness,” he said, “with the different sounds of my nervous system. Being a trained musician, I noticed the high pitched sounds of my nervous system consisted of several sounds in different intervals.” At one point he had a dream in which he experienced the sound of bells ringing in each ear. It then occurred to him to bring two tuning forks to the chamber. When he tapped them, he immediately “observed that the sound of my nervous system came into resonance with the sound of the tuning forks. It was then I realized that people can be tuned like musical instruments.”
As director of Activity Therapy at New York’s Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, Beaulieu found that music had a strong impact on his patients. He began experimenting with toning and other sounds, using personal observation to determine what worked. He noticed when music was added to the patients’ environment, there was less need for medication and physical restraints. This began his evolutionary path to BioSonics.
“My method of (treating) is energy medicine,” said Beaulieu, “which ultimately says the words ‘energy’ and ‘sound’ are interchangeable. One can create an energy field with sound that one can move within, if it is the correct sound; if it’s what that person needs. It’s said that new age music is healing. It might be healing for one person; for another it might be disco. It depends on what music and what sound is appropriate at that time. All music and all sounds have the potential to be healing.
“By creating resonance in the patient, you can gain more energy, and that energy can manifest as a shift in how they’re ‘doing’ their life. Everything is available to listening. Every sense is a listening sense. The healer must really listen to the patient. That’s the basis of any Oriental medicine. The patient becomes an individual; the deeper you listen to the patient the more profound the result will be. A good psychotherapist really listens, synchronizes with the patient, and with their heartbeat. That’s when the patient gets the most insight into their lives.”
We are all challenged human beings, noted Beaulieu. Those challenges can bring us closer to our spirit. When there is medical disease, relationship problems or discomfort of pain, our spirit is talking to us about making a shift. The healer is the provider of tools for that shift. “Creative art modalities,” said Beaulieu, “are all extensions of the same principle. Once you understand the principle, you can apply modalities to it. All the arts, whether working with sound, movement or color, can be used to create this repatterning effect, bringing about a shift. It’s actually the shifting that allows the person to become more aware and have more energy. I’m more interested in what field will give rise to what,” he said
“Different gems have different frequencies like notes on the piano,” he continued. Mother Quartz produces a rainbow holding all the colors and frequencies. Other gems each have one color and the corresponding quality. “Once I’m really tuned into someone, I evaluate them — evaluate meaning to give them value. If I really know my gems, I can pick a stone or stones that would be just right to reinforce their energy field. When I teach gem stones, I have people go into a very quiet state, holding one gem, then another, to get inside of the stone and be able to know the stone from inside out. After a half hour of doing that, people come to me and say they know their stones. All have energy, but there is a different quality in the way each is perceived.”
Everything has healing value from the vibrational standpoint. When there is resonance between healer and client, energy is not just doubled, but a space is created for the third entity which actually does the healing. “Whatever I do,” said Beaulieu, “I am working with energy whether it’s tuning forks, voice, gems, verbal counseling or recommending homeopathics.” He doesn’t label himself through attachment to any particular modality, but rather takes what he has learned and applies it to a larger energy field.
Energy Fields and Disease
Beaulieu once worked with a man who exhibited abruptly-changing multiple personalities. The Big Bear, as he was called, was diagnosed with chronic-undifferentiated schizophrenia. One personality had a cold, but when he shifted to another personality the cold would disappear. Each personality had a different array of postures, speech and different physical manifestations of health. Beaulieu noted the frequency shift that occurred with the change, each personality having its own internal vibration and manifestation in the physical state.
“Disease is a medical model term,” said Beaulieu, “talking about specific markers. We’ve all accepted it and it’s a very functional model.” The two models of energy fields and medically diagnosed disease don’t really contradict each other, but he focuses on the larger energy field of sound rather than the disease. “In cancer,” he said, “the focus is not on cancer but the vibrational field of the person.” If you change the internal environment, the cancer will no longer exist. Beaulieu doesn’t discourage patients from taking chemotherapy, noting, “If you tell someone not to do something you set up a dissonant field and that won’t work.”
Beaulieu uses the term “rotate your dish” to describe the frequency shift which brings about a change in the internal state of vibration. “Bodywork and sound work help us rotate our dish. You cannot tell anyone what is the correct rotation. All we should do is make available an energy source that they can utilize to make their shift.”
Sounds and Silence
According to Beaulieu, “BioSonic Repatterning looks for the ‘sound’ and ‘silence’ giving rise to all of creation. Through aware listening we enter into a sound and begin our spiral journey to its source — silence. Being with and embodying silence we discover the unknowable and the unperceivable; the stillpoint, the source of all healing.”
Within the interval of C and G is a gap — the center of the spiral. It’s the space between our thoughts, the gap between neurons, the essence of Sound...God...Divine Intelligence. When we are in that gap, that interval, that eye of life, we are pure energy.
“All sounds arise from silence, all sounds lead to silence,” said Beaulieu. “The ultimate healer is silence energy without form, the stillpoint.”
For more information, contact Dr. John Beaulieu at BioSonic Enterprises, Ltd., 800/925-0159, or visit www.biosonicenterprises.com.